Omar Khadr is "salvageable" and a "good kid," but a prolonged detention at Guantanamo Bay could turn the Canadian into a radical, say the U.S. soldiers who guard him.
His guards describe him as a "likable, funny and intelligent young man," according to documents from Foreign Affairs, which also state the 21-year-old hopes Canada will get him out of the U.S.-run detention centre in Cuba.
The reports, based on visits to Khadr by department officials in April and March, say American soldiers posted to the detention centre seem "to look out for him by stopping by to chat on occasion, convincing him to meet with his lawyers and encouraging him to 'keep his nose clean.'"
'He's a child soldier. We should be following our policy on child soldiers and so should the US. '
--Cory Barnes<a href="http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/06/03/khadr.html#postc"> Add your comment</a>[/CUSTOM]
One of the reports is expected to be presented Tuesday to members of the House of Commons subcommittee studying Khadr's case in Ottawa, the Globe and Mail reports.
The U.S. accuses Khadr, the only Canadian detained at Guantanamo Bay, of throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. medic in Afghanistan in 2002.
He also faces charges of attempted murder, conspiracy, spying and providing material support for terrorism. He is expected to go on trial this summer before a special military tribunal. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Other members of his immediate family have also been accused of having ties to terrorist activities.
According to the documents, Khadr barely broached the subject of his family with Canadian officials, and when informed that he could make an additional phone call home, "he didn't seem overly keen to do so." His last phone call had been cancelled by his mother "because she couldn't make herself available," according to one of the reports.
Khadr's eyesight impaired
The Toronto-born man has been in U.S. custody since he was seized in Afghanistan at age 15.
One of the Foreign Affairs documents details Khadr's many health problems, which result from the battle that led to his capture in Afghanistan.
He has no vision in his left eye and his right eye is deteriorating because of shrapnel embedded in the eye's membrane. Khadr is described as "hyper-sensitive" to light and has requested sunglasses, which have not been provided.
He also has shrapnel in his right shoulder, which is painful when the temperature drops, and suffers from nightmares.
The same document describes how Khadr expressed his appreciation of visits from Canadian officials, whom he says he trusts. And while he said Canada is the best country in the world to live in, he told the Foreign Affairs official that he wondered why Canada was being so quiet about his case.
Khadr's court-appointed American lawyer, Lt.-Cmdr. William C. Kuebler, said the documents confirm his own assessment of his client.
"He is a decent, well-mannered young man, deserving of a chance in life," Kuebler told CBC News. "Canadians need not fear him, and he should no longer be punished for the misdeeds of his family."
Speaking during question period on Tuesday, NDP MP Wayne Marston said Canada had failed Khadr for six years and called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to intervene. Opposition parties have repeatedly urged the government to bring him home.